Ecco may be based in Denmark but it’s expanding accessories collection is establishing the brand beyond its comfort and sports shoe roots stateside. “Over the past two to three years our expansion from shoe leathers into leather goods has been a huge priority for the organization,” says Lindsay Campbell, head of Ecco’s accessories division. In fact, she notes that much of its leather–nearly half–is sold to external customers beyond shoes. “The thought was that if we can sell these great leathers to great brands around the world then we must be doing something really unique ourselves.”
Enter its men’s accessories collection for this fall, which spans messenger bags, laptop cases and iPad holders, while a wine cellar-worthy palette of purples and reds is applied to hobos and shoppers for women. With a suggested retail price range of $100 to $400, Campbell believes the accessories collection will not only appeal to Ecco shoe loyalists but also attract new consumers to the brand. Kathy Cho, Ecco’s U.S. sales representative, concurs: “Because we use our own leathers we’re really able to control the style, the texture and the quality of what we’re using.” She adds that instead of bells and whistles, it’s about showcasing the natural beauty of the materials. “Now more and more, especially with busy working women, it’s this idea of going from day to night and wanting a bag that can house your iPad or small computer but that’s still something you can take out with you after work,” Cho says. “And men are not necessarily always looking for a business bag–they want a great looking messenger bag that can house all their things,” Campbell adds.
Where some brands focus on the design first and turn to materials later, Ecco’s approach to leather goods begins with the hide. “With shoes our starting point is the foot and we build the design around that,” Campbell explains. “With bags we really take a look at the core material and leather and apply our Scandinavian aesthetic. The colors, materials and design aesthetic align so that the collections will sit naturally in the stores and complement each other.” Moving into next spring Ecco will introduce its brightest color story yet, with a hint of rose gold hardware featured on bigger bags. “You’ll see a lot of rose gold hardware featured on natural bags where the leather speaks loudly–you’ll want to grab them off the shelf,” Campbell predicts.